Tiger Woods A Cut Above Part 2

By Mercer BaggsOctober 23, 2003, 4:00 pm
This is the second in a two-part series on Tiger Woods trying to tie Byron Nelsons PGA Tour record for consecutive cuts made. Read Part 1
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. ' Assuming Tiger Woods does this week what he has done 112 straight times before, he will tie Byron Nelsons PGA Tour record of consecutive events played without missing a cut.
This would be No. 113, and No. 114 would be assured as Tigers next scheduled tournament is the Tour Championship, where there is no cut.
Officially, Woods is one away from tying Nelson ' in terms of most consecutive events played without missing a cut. But in terms of consecutive events played in which he has made the cut, he ranks third in tour history.
Woods has actually made 89 consecutive cuts on tour, in events that actually have a cut to be made.
Jack Nicklaus is second at 105 (from the Sahara Open in November of 1970 through the World Series of Golf in September, 1976). His streak included 10 tournaments that didnt have a cut.
And, of course, Nelson is No. 1.
It has been speculated that Ben Hogan may have made 177 consecutive cuts. But the tour cannot confirm this and, therefore, does not recognize it.
For the record, Tiger has already surpassed Nicklaus and is now on a numbers collision course with Nelson. The two paths, separated by nearly six decades, appear destined to meet at a crossroad, and they are as fundamentally different as they are equally impressive.
It's so difficult to compare the three eras, Woods said in reference to his, Nelsons and Nicklaus times. You're going to have bad tournaments, bad weeks where you just don't hit the ball well, and they somehow figured out a way to score and get it done. That's what makes them champions.
Nelsons streak started with the 1941 Bing Crosby Pro-Am and almost never came to an end. He stopped playing a full schedule in 1946, and competed only three times over the next two seasons.
The run officially concluded when he returned to Pebble Beach in 1949 and finished out of the money. In Nelsons day, making the cut meant making money. And making money meant finishing inside the top 20, or thereabouts, in most events.
Where Woods could finish tied for 56th in the 1999 Bay Hill Invitational and keep alive his streak, Nelson had no such opportunity. In fact, during his run Nelson never finished lower than a tie for 17th.
Nelson needed such high finishes, sometimes just to offset travel expenses. He certainly didnt have Tigers luxury to pick and choose tournaments. And he certainly didnt have Tigers good fortune not to need the money.
But, by contrast, Woods streak, while it may include tournaments without cuts and events where he snuck inside the top 70 after two rounds, was fostered against stronger and deeper fields.
Sam Snead and Ben Hogan were serving in the military during much of Nelsons streak.
Woods has also faced greater media scrutiny. And dont forget the fact that hes never missed the cut overseas either.
Whether you view Tigers mark at 89 or 112, it is still far and away greater than anything else any of his peers have been able to produce.
Vijay Singh has been Woods closest modern-day counterpart when it comes to consistency. After finally missing the cut in the 1998 Masters to end his streak at 53, he followed with 18 straight cuts made.
Over the last seven years, he has averaged only two missed cuts per season. This year hes missed but one (Players Championship), which is still one more than Woods.
If you start thinking about it, its hard, said Singh. If youre playing well you dont think about the cut. And Tigers been playing well for a while.
Ernie Els is currently second behind Woods in events played on tour without missing a cut. He is 15-for-15 this season, and hasnt missed a cut in 26 straight tournaments, dating back to 2002.
He once went 28 straight events, from late 1999 to early 2001, without missing a weekend round on the tour. He has made 156 cuts in 182 career events, good for an 85.7-percent success rate.
Jim Furyk is another modern model of consistency. He has cashed a paycheck in over 80 percent of the events he has played on tour, making 23 of 25 cuts this season.
I think what Tiger has done is fantastic considering that hes played against very deep, very big fields, he said. It only takes a bad day, one bad round of 75, 76 to push you out of the cut line, and he just seems to be very consistent and seems to fight through it when hes playing poorly and gets it done.
He doesnt quit, Furyk added. It is important for him to show up and play his best every week, even when hes not playing well.
Singhs career cuts-made percentage on tour is 89.8; Davis Love III 80.9 percent; Phil Mickelson 80.1 percent; Sergio Garcia 77.9 percent; Mike Weir 71.4 percent.
David Duvals career cuts-made percentage was at 80.3 prior to the last two seasons. It is now at 73.4.
Greg Norman made 204 cuts in 221 tour starts, from 1979 to 1995, for a 92.3 percentage. He averaged about one missed cut per season during that stretch.
Jack Nicklaus made 425 cuts in 442 events, from his rookie season of 1962 to 1985, for a 96.1 percentage during that time.
These are all remarkable numbers, but, based solely on percentages, Woods is King Cut.
As a professional, he has played in 143 events and made 141 cuts ' a 98.6 percent success rate. Of course, that includes tournaments like the three World Golf Championship events, the Mercedes Championships and the Tour Championship ' events without a cut.
That makes it a little different, said Bob Burns, the defending champion of this weeks Disney event. I am not taking anything away from him. Obviously he doesnt have any trouble making cuts in the full-field tournaments either.
But even without the credit of those events, he is still good for 113 cuts made out of 115 events with a cut. That decreases his success rate to all of 98.2 percent.
Burns, who has been playing the tour regularly the last five years, has never gone longer than eight straight tournaments without missing a cut. He knows how difficult consistency is to maintain on the PGA Tour, and laughed when asked if he could comprehend someone making 113 consecutive cuts.
I cant, he said. Thats pretty amazing.
Amazing is exactly how Nelson perceives what he and Woods have accomplished. He has said that he holds this particular streak in higher regard than winning 11 consecutive tournaments in 1945.
Woods, too, will speak of pride in the accomplishment, but the true expression is seen on the Fridays of those select events where he didnt have it, but managed to survive to another day.
I dont ever bag it. You have to fight. There are days when you feel terrible and you wish you were in other places, because youre playing so poorly. You have to somehow figure out a way to score, and thats the name of the game, he said.
If you can just get to the weekend, you can still go low and win.
Woods has twice won at Disney, but that doesnt guarantee him a spot in the weekend rotation this time around.
Last year, Chris DiMarco held the 36-hole lead at 17-under par; the cut line fell at 6 under. Woods loathes a shoot-out, and would much rather grind his way into weekend position.
I do not like them. Ive never liked them, never will, he said of low-scoring tournaments. It doesnt really reward good ball striking; its just a putting contest.
But this is home, and his track record in this track meet is quite impressive. And while he never enters an event thinking about just making the cut, it is on his mind this week. He respects the significance of this record, and knows that it will likely be his for even longer than it belonged to Nelson.
All it takes is one bad day, or inclement weather, injury, a WD (withdrawal), and youre out of there, all of a sudden the cut (streak) is over, he said.
Its consistency. You have to be consistent. And thats what Im most proud of.
Email your thoughts to Mercer Baggs at mbaggs@golfchannel.com
USGA/Chris Keane

Even with broken driver, Salinda beats Hagestad at U.S. Am

By Ryan LavnerAugust 17, 2018, 2:52 am

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – With a trip to the U.S. Amateur quarterfinals on the line, and with the Pacific Ocean staring him in the face, Isaiah Salinda piped a 330-yard drive down Pebble Beach’s 18th hole.

Not a bad poke with a replacement driver.

Salinda’s Round of 16 match against Stewart Hagestad got off to a rocky start Thursday afternoon with an awkward tee shot on the second hole.

“The ball came out weird, with no spin,” said Salinda’s caddie and former Stanford teammate, Bradley Knox. “He said, ‘Yeah, that felt weird.’”

Salinda looked at the bottom of his Callaway Epic driver and noticed a crack.

Worried that they'd have to play the rest of the round with only a 3-wood, Knox called a Callaway equipment rep, told him the issue, and was relieved to hear he'd meet them at the back of the third tee. Salinda teed off the next hole with a 3-wood – he’d taken driver there all week – and wound up in a tricky spot, on the side of a mound, leading to a bogey.

“Then they came over and cranked the driver,” Knox said. “It was like a NASCAR pit crew.”

The replacement driver was nearly identical – same head, same loft, same weighting – except for the lie angle. The new one was a degree flatter than his gamer, which led to a few more pulled shots than usual.

“It took a little while to recover the mindset that we’d had the rest of the week,” Knox said.

Match scoring from U.S. Amateur

U.S. Amateur: Articles, photos and videos

Salinda downplayed the equipment malfunction – “I just had to adjust, and it wasn’t really a problem” – but he didn’t play well early. After trailing for just one hole during his first two matches, he was 4 over par and 2 down through 10 holes against Hagestad, the 2017 U.S. Mid-Amateur champion who’d finally made match play after eight previous failed attempts.

On 11, Salinda finally got going, stuffing a wedge shot to 10 feet and recording his first birdie. He followed with three clutch pars before another good approach on 15, leading to a conceded birdie to square the match.

On the home hole, Salinda bombed his drive about 30 yards past Hagestad and had 220 yards to the flag. It was a perfect 4-iron distance, and he sent a rocket into a blinding sunset.

“I never saw it,” Salinda said. “I told my caddie: ‘Where is that? I have no idea.’ But it felt good.”

A lone voice shrieked as the ball landed on the green. They knew the shot had to be tight. Years ago, Stanford senior Chris Meyers had made an albatross on 18 for a walkoff victory with Lee Janzen at the PGA Tour Champions’ First Tee Open. Knox thought they’d come close to duplicating the feat.

“Probably almost had a Chris Meyers,” Knox said, chuckling, as they walked up the fairway.

The shot never had a chance to drop – turns out the spectator was well-lubricated – but it still was only 35 feet away, for eagle. Salinda cozied his putt to a few feet and could only watch as Hagestad’s last-ditch 25-footer stopped a rotation short of the cup.

The Round of 16 victory continued a breakout summer for Salinda. His 15th-place showing at the NCAA Championship kick-started a three-month stretch in which he’s finally taken his game to the next level.

“He’s shown flashes of brilliance before,” Knox said, “and he’s had the game. But now he has the consistency and the confidence that it’ll come back time and time again.”

Salinda shot 62 in the third round and won the Pacific Coast Amateur, which boasts one of the strongest fields of the summer. Then he finished third in stroke play at the Western Amateur before a quarterfinal loss in match play.

Now he’s one step closer to his biggest victory yet – even with a backup driver.

Getty Images

Salas (62) leads LPGA's Indy Women in Tech

By Associated PressAugust 17, 2018, 12:50 am

INDIANAPOLIS - Lizette Salas' waited 77 minutes to line up her 4-foot putt to take the lead Thursday at the Indy Women in Tech Championship.

She refused to let the weather delay get to her.

When the 29-year-old California player returned to the course, she quickly rolled in the birdie putt, finished her round with another birdie at No. 18 and took a two-shot lead over Angel Yin and Nasa Hataoka with a course record-tying 10-under 62.

''I didn't even think about it the entire time,'' Salas said. ''I was hanging out with Danielle (Kang) and she was giving me her silly dad jokes. So it definitely kept my mind off of it. I was really excited to be back and to finish off with a birdie, from off the green, was the icing on the cake.''

It's the lowest score by a female player at the Brickyard Crossing.

Defending champion Lexi Thompson opened last year's inaugural tournament with a 63, one shot off of Mike McCullough's 62 in the PGA Champions Tour's 1999 Comfort Classic.

But the way the saturated 6,456-yard course played Thursday, Salas needed virtually every putt of her career-best round to reach the top of the leaderboard.

The morning starters took advantage of overnight rain by shooting right at the pins.

And nobody made a bigger early splash than Yin, the 19-year-old Californian who finished second in last year's rookie of the year race.

She opened with five straight birdies and shot 8-under 28 on the front nine. Only a par on No. 6 prevented her from becoming the sixth LPGA player to shoot 27 on nine holes. South Korea's Mi Hyang Lee did it most recently at the 2016 JTBC Founders Cup.

Yin also tied the third-lowest nine-hole score in relation to par in tour history.

Her only bobble came with a bogey on No. 13 and she closed out her best career round with a birdie on No. 18.

Full-field scores from Indy Women in Tech Championship

''I have never done that before,'' she said. ''I had nine putts, I think, on the front nine, which is incredible. I've never had that many little putts. But it just felt good. Everything was working.''

Last year's runner-up for rookie of the year has never won an LPGA Tour title in her home country though she did win in a playoff at Dubai on the Ladies European Tour.

Everybody seemed to find their groove Thursday.

Eighty-eight of the 143 players shot under par and 54 were 3-under or better.

And with more rain in the forecast Thursday night and Friday, the scores could go even lower as a star-studded cast chases down Salas, Yin and Hataoka.

Four players, including Kang and Jane Park, are three shots behind.

Seven players, including last year's tournament runner-up Lydia Ko, are four shots back. Ko was tied with Yin for the lead - until she knocked her tee shot on the par-4, 16th into the water. She wound up with a double bogey and birdied the final hole to finish with 66.

After taking a monthlong break to recover from physical and mental exhaustion, Thompson looked relaxed and comfortable in her return to the course. She shot 68.

''It was hard for me to take the break because I didn't want to show weakness,'' she said. ''But at the same time, it takes a lot of strength to acknowledge that you need that kind of break and just take time for yourself, especially when you're in the spotlight like this.''

Salas, meanwhile, started fast with an eagle on the par-5 second and finished with a flurry.

She birdied three straight holes on the front side to get to 5-under, added birdies at Nos. 12 and 14 to get to 7-under and then birdied the final three holes - around the approaching storm - to put herself in contention for her first title since the 2014 Kingsmill Championship.

''I have been just striking the ball really well this entire year, and just glad some more putts dropped today,'' she said. ''I was really refreshed. I didn't practice at all last week, and I was just really eager and excited to be back.''

Getty Images

Sordet opens with 62 to grab lead at Nordea Masters

By Associated PressAugust 16, 2018, 11:23 pm

GOTHENBURG, Sweden - Clement Sordet opened with four straight birdies to shoot 8-under 62 and take the first-round lead of the Nordea Masters on Thursday.

Sordet says ''I wasn't really focusing on the score, I was just enjoying it.''

The Frenchman, who shot his lowest European Tour round, has a two-stroke lead over Scott Jamieson of Scotland and Lee Slattery of England.

Hunter Stewart is the highest-placed American after a 5-under 65 left him on a four-way tie for fourth with Christofer Blomstrand, Tapio Pulkkanen and Richard Green.

Defending champion Renato Paratore's hopes of becoming the first player to successfully retain the title look in doubt after the Italian shot 9-over 79 at Hills Golf Club.

Getty Images

Peterson confirms plans to play Web.com Finals

By Will GrayAugust 16, 2018, 9:17 pm

After flirting with retirement for much of the summer, John Peterson confirmed that he will give it one more shot in the upcoming Web.com Tour Finals.

Peterson, 29, had planned to walk away from the game and begin a career in real estate in his native Texas if he failed to secure PGA Tour status before his medical extension expired. His T-13 finish last month at The Greenbrier appeared to be enough to net the former NCAA champ at least conditional status, but a closer look at the numbers revealed he missed out by 0.58 points in his last available start.

Full-field scores from Wyndham Championship

Wyndham Championship: Articles, photos and videos

But Peterson was buoyed by the support he received from his peers at The Greenbrier, and when he got into the Barbasol Championship as a late alternate he decided to make the trip to the tournament. He tied for 21st that week in Kentucky, clinching enough non-member FedExCup points to grant him a spot in the four-event Finals.

Last month Peterson hinted that he would consider playing in the Finals, where 25 PGA Tour cards for the 2018-19 season will be up for grabs, and Thursday he confirmed in an Instagram post that he will give his pro career "one last push."

The Finals kick off next week in Ohio with the Nationwide Children's Hospital Championship and will conclude Sept. 20-23 with the Web.com Tour Championship. Peterson will be looking to rekindle his results from 2013, when he finished T-5 or better at each of the four Finals events while earning fully-exempt status as the top money earner.